Facing East: 48 hours in the life of East Austin (2002) Opening Reception
A multi-media, docu-arts exhibition of visual images capturing a single 48 hour period in the life of Austin, Texas, east of Interstate 35
DiverseArts Production Group, in partnership with Tommy Wyatt and The Villager , will host the opening reception for "Facing East: 48 Hours in the Life of East Austin" on April 4, 2002 at 7:00 pm. This exhibition, the first of its kind in Austin , will feature the work of 10 photographers, chosen by a panel of judges as the best of submissions received. All work was to have been shot in Central Austin during the 48 hour period between March 9 and 10. The exhibition will feature images reflecting diverse views of Central East Austin, as seen through the eyes of various artists.
"Facing East" is a continuation of DiverseArts Production Group's effort to increase the amount of collected archival materials documenting the personal lives, neighborhoods and
institutions found East of I-35. This work began in 1989, when Harold McMillan founded the Austin Blues Family Tree Project, a library of oral histories and recorded performances of musicians from pre-integration era East Austin. The mission of Facing East is to enlist the help of local photographers in documenting this culture rich community and to provide a showcase for exceptional local talent.
DiverseArts Production group gratefully acknowledges and appreciates The Villager's support as community host for this event.
Winner of the photography exhibition was Laura Ochoa's series "Le Gente."
Facing East Jurors:
Neil Coleman has dedicated himself to the preservation, presentation, and promotion of Fine Art Photography. He has owned and operated a Photography Gallery since 1987, and has been responsible for over 120 photography exhibits. He has also worked on over 25 films, including Lonesome Dove, Michael, and Spy Kids. He holds a degree in Art Education from the University of Texas in Austin.
Bernadette Pfeiffer is the curator of the George Washington Carver Museum. She has recently been leading the effort to expand the current site on San Bernard to larger proportions that will better serve the Austin community.
For 33 years Alan Pogue has photographed social and political movements in Texas and around the world. The focus of Alan's work includes migrant laborers, prison conditions & criminal injustice, Cuba, culture and conflict in the Middle East, and Iraq under sanctions as well as other topics centered on efforts of peace and social betterment. Alan recently returned from Pakistan where he documented Afghan refugees and war victims in conjunction with Japan-based Global Peace Campaign and Veteran's for Peace.
Joel Nihleen is a twenty year old photojournalism major at the University of Texas Austin. He has been taking photographs since the age of seventeen when he signed up to take a little high school photography course as a “blow-off” to make an “easy A”. That class turned out to become a career choice. In the photos Joel takes he tries to encompass everything, simple snapshots of life, the human condition, vibrant action shots of the live music in Austin, and in-camera illusions. He is not much for bragging about past accomplishments, but is always willing to show and sell his work.
East Austin is changing at an astonishing rate. My documentary project of the area sought to juxtapose different aesthetic appeals. Some parts of the east Austin are experiencing tendencies towards rapid gentrification while others are in entropy. To show only pictures of one side or the other would not give a clear picture.
As a photographer I prefer to work with people to gain emotional appeal, but this project gave me a chance to work as unseen observer. Photography is my favorite medium to work in because it give me the power to choose what angle I will present to the world in. My other documentary projects include rural Texas and rock musicians.
Stacey Renee Davis
Stacey Davis is a 27 year old photographer who has been actively shooting for 10 years. She has done many projects including a digital art book that is due to be published within the year. Along with trying to market herself as a freelance photographer, her true passion is fine are photography.
When she first learned about this contest, she was really enthusiastic about the project. On of her favorite styles of photography is street photography, and the nature of the contest suited that style very well. Although, her approach to the project changed dramatically once she began. There was allot of hesitation from the people she encountered to participate, and there was a palpable sense of unease when being approached to take their picture. She then decided that instead of trying to focus primarily on the people of east Austin, she would instead direct here attention to their surroundings. Her goal was to reveal the social, cultural and architectural dichotomy of the area, and here hop is that it will come across to the viewer. She found herself exploring parts of east Austin that she may not ever have seen if it weren’t for this competition, and surprisingly, walking away from he experience with a fresh perspective of her own.
I discovered black and white photography 3 years ago, and quickly found that, as an art form, it was the best expressive medium to tell stories. When I pick up my camera I want to tell the story of every face I take a picture of. The Facing East project was perfect opportunity for me to tell the story of “La Gente,” the people of the Latino community that live on the south east side of Austin. I started my 48 hours at the local bars on East Sixth Street. I found the people and the atmosphere to be very unique and interesting so I continued to take my photographs in this area. Some of the people that are shown I had the pleasure to engage in conversation with. Most of the people were pretty gracious and were willing to tell me elaborate stories of their life. This project was a very rewarding experience for me and I had a great time My influences as a photographer come from Bill Wittliff, Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus and Paul Strand. My vision is to try to document life as I see it.
I have been living in Austin for the past twenty-two years. I have been making photographs for collection and exhibition for over thirty years. I am very pleased to take part in “Facing East”. This project encouraged people to explore and record East Austin and all of its cultural diversity.
BJ Smiley Goins
Having spent much time in the East Austin community while photographing and researching for my Mural of Austin project several years ago, this event was a great opportunity to revisit some of the beautiful neighborhoods I had learned about then, but been too busy to enjoy regularly since. Unfortunately, this is the story for many Austinites. In a time and a city which moves so fast as to forget the simple pleasure of friends, family and faith, the reaffirmation of these things can easily be found on a Saturday afternoon just a short drive east of downtown.
Photographs give faces to those who work, live, go to school and play in a part of the city which get overlooked by those on the west side of IH-35. This project is important to document East Austin as an integral part of Austin’s rich cultural history, which will surely be engulfed and erased as he city grows unless its unique contributions are constantly kept in the public eye.
The East Side of Austin holds a special place in my heart. Over the past four years of my residence in Austin, I have lived there, done filming and photography in the Govalle area, and am currently counseling junior high kids of 11th street at the ALC. I am continually moved by the spirit, humor and resilience of the people I have met and work with. Unfortunately, his population is often overlooked, marginalized and invisible to the rest of Austin. It is with great pleasure that I present these photographs as testimony to the vitality and beauty I experience on the East Side.
Mike “Sully” Sullivan
My Side/ Eastside
For half of my life in Austin, I have lived on the east side, my side, of town. Town Lake sunrises and swans. Breakfast at Mi Madre & Cisco’s. Town Lake, fishing and sketching in a blue canoe. Organic produce, eggs, and smoked-dried tomatoes from Boggy Creek Farms. Hoover’s, Eastside Cafe, Mueller’s and Sam’s BBQ, Azteca. Frontyard gardens. Shadetree mechanics. Bluebonnet patches. Austin’s history - in graveyards grandiose and humble. Baseball. Blue Theater, Vortex, Off Center. I just photographed what I see every day.
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ That is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Kristin Anderson graduated St. Edwards University in 1998 with a degree in Photo Communication and was awarded the Ruth C Long Scholarship for similar work while attending St. Edwards.
Worked for the Texas House of Representatives Photography Department in 1999-2001 legislature.
Now is freelancing.
I have lived in many places in the world and found myself a minority. I have grown up with much diversity and did not know of an environment without diversity. It is a pleasure to celebrate diversity.
When photographing East Side Austin, I attempt to portray the everyday beauty and pride of its residents and their environment. Through photography, I strive to call attention to subtle yet momentous situations. With these photographs and others along the same line, I want to provoke the viewer to move beyond preconceived notions about specific people, places, and things while making an effort to reveal the beautiful and majestic qualities present within common, ordinary moments.